Saturday, November 6, 2010

What Will Your Middle Schoolers Do With Their iPads?

We were at a post-Halloween costume party tonight where one person came with a shirt with a built-in iPad holder that displayed video on his iPad that was part of his costume.  It was really incredible!  But it got me to thinking about what other ways our middle school students will be using this type of technology--especially ways we might never even imagine they would.

So I came home and we (my middle school son and I) googled some of the most ingenious uses for the iPad.  Some categories that really caught our attention/imagination were:
  • Artists are using iPads in their creations.  Some of the standout videos you can see are
    • the artist David Kassan making incredible portraits of studio models...using only one finger
    • Chinese piano prodigy Lang Lang playing "Flight of the Bumblebee" on the iPad
    • a magician, instead of pulling a rabbit from a hat, pulls a dove, a piece of cheese, and lots of money from their images on the iPad
  • People are using iPads to entertain and communicate with their animals.
    • aquatic researchers in Mexico are finding dolphins can communicate with iPad by touching it with their beaks
    • pets, particularly cats, seem intrigued with the colors, displays, and apps available on the iPad, sometimes even when the owners aren't there
  • Some people are using it for more practical, everyday uses.  A couple of examples include:
    • attaching it to the door of a cabinet in the kitchen to use to access recipes or cooking instructions while one's hands are occupied doing the actual food preparation
    • wearing it on your back when biking to inform cars behind that you intend to do (like turning or stopping)
    • hanging it around your neck at a convention with a default image of a giant name tag (presumably with the person's actual name), but available at a moment's notice to take notes of people met or presentations attended
This is not to suggest that any of us actually want to use an iPad or similar technologies in this way.  But I think it is a sign that our children may be using these tools in ways that we never imagined. My friend and colleague Maria D. and I have been talking a lot about divergent thinking lately, and I think this is one avenue where our children's divergent thinking may really manifest itself in an important and powerful way.  And if it is important and powerful enough....well, then our retirement may be much sweeter than we anticipated.

Note:  So this post really refers to any of this type of emerging technology, not just the iPad per se.  But I will admit that our family is all Mac, all the way.


  1. Oooh, this gives me an idea or two. My bird is pretty bored sometimes...

    Though I don't want an iPad because you can't actually type on it. Even with long special practice, you lose about a third of your typing speed.

  2. Apparently they have an iPad holder that also has a keyboard, basically turning it into a laptop when you want one, but you can still take it out when you want your iPad on the run.

    There is also a magnet holder that allows you to stick it to your refrigerator (or other metal surfaces, I guess) without messing up the electronics somehow.